2020-21 Ministry Year Focus: "Connected in Faith"
- Connecting with God - Drawing near with a true heart.
- Connecting with our Church Family - Holding fast the confession of our hope.
- Connecting with our Community - Stirring up one another to love & good works.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24)
This month, as many of us have the opportunity to joyfully celebrate Easter in person again, and many of us resume a more “normal” way of life because of vaccinations and the continuing decline of new COVID cases, people everywhere are counting their blessings.
As much as I want to celebrate those blessings, I’d like to encourage you to do something counterintuitive for just a moment: think back to before the vaccine, to the experience of last Easter. I know that for many it was some mix of anxious, stressful, lonely, and maybe even depressed from time to time. For some there was frustration, for others, fear. These are negative emotions. But recent surveys indicate that for many, this dark time was also a time to draw closer to God. Maybe you read your scriptures more. Maybe your prayer life got a boost.
Why point this out? Because I know that I am excited to go back to normal. I’m excited to visit people again, to go to parties, to take off my mask. I imagine you are, too. And that’s good. That’s appropriate. But do we want to return to normal in every way? Maybe there are things we should learn from the pandemic? Maybe there are things we should keep! Maybe there are some things that shouldn’t be normal. One thing I don’t want to return to “normal?”
My prayer life. It has always been more natural to pray when I’m stressed than when everything is going well. It’s so easy to fill your days with other things which seem just as important.
But the Bible encourages us to pray without ceasing, not just pray during the hard times. This Easter, therefore, I’d like to change my normal. And I invite you to do the same.
Pray. Set aside time each day. Make it a priority. Put reminders up around the house, in your car, at work. Commit to checking out the church’s prayer page (clcs.org/prayer), to praying for those on the prayer list in the announcements. Do what needs to be done to Connect with God daily. Hourly. Pray without ceasing.
And what should we pray for? Well, considering our ministry year theme, I suggest we pray for our church family and our neighbors! All this month, we’ll focus on prayer here at Calvary, through sermons, Bible studies, and special prayer-opportunities. Connect with God. Pray for others. Let’s come out of the pandemic stronger.
— Pastor Josh Reifsteck